Merck Animal Health developed My Vet Offers, a mobile-first web app that increased engagement with the flea and tick medication Bravecto. The experience for pet owners was simple and straightforward. There was nothing to download, install, or integrate — it only required a connected device. My Vet Offers simultaneously handled mobile coupon distribution and promotion for pet owners. It also gave them the choice to receive helpful, automated reminders to give their pets their doses of Bravecto every 12 weeks. The app also handled point-of-sale coupon redemption, reimbursement, and tracking for vets.
Objective and Context:
Merck Animal Health’s marketers wanted to increase product trial and brand retention of Bravecto from pet owners while also driving advocacy from vet clinics. In addition, they wanted increased visibility into how the product was selling at retail.
There were a number of challenges specific to the animal health industry, wherein thousands of small independent vet clinics served as both retailers and brand advocates. Each clinic had its own point-of-sale system, making scalable integration of mobile coupons all but impossible. Also, there was no effective system in place for end-user opt-in and remarketing. This was particularly challenging for a product like Bravecto, which required recurring doses that were spread across long stretches of time (only once every 12 weeks). Because it was necessary for the medication to be taken so rarely, the product had a higher initial price point, which created a barrier to entry for new pet owners.
The target audience consisted of pet owners. The marketing team used a data-driven approach when forming audience personas using insights taken from an initial pilot campaign. Seventy percent of the brand’s audience were under 45, 75 percent were female, and 83 percent were mobile first, or preferred to receive SMS communication over email. This information informed creative changes for the wider rollout of the campaign, which saw a conversion rate 3.5 times better than the pilot.
Merck created My Vet Offers, a mobile-first web app built specifically to drive engagement within vet clinics. There was nothing to download, install, or integrate — it only required a connected device. My Vet Offers simultaneously handled mobile coupon distribution and promotion for pet owners. It also handled point-of-sale coupon redemption, reimbursement, and tracking for vets.
The experience for pet owners was simple and straightforward. After clicking on one of the available offers, they were prompted to request a secure, single-use coupon code delivered via email or text. They were then given the choice to receive helpful, automated reminders to give their pets their scheduled doses of Bravecto every 12 weeks.
Vets all across the country were invited to sign up for the program and create secure profiles for their employees. Once a clinic had completed the simple five-minute signup process, they could log in from any connected device, such as their clinic computer, a tablet, or the personal mobile devices. From there, it took seconds to redeem a coupon and match it with a valid receipt.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Compared to the pre-existing retail-based incentives programs (paper rebates with identical dollar value to the coupons), the program drove a far higher conversion rate at a lower cost — with the added benefits of new customer relationship management and retailer advocacy. In addition, clinics were happy to see an immediate boost in sales, leading to much stronger support of the brand.
Because the technology was built primarily for mobile web, users never had to download, install, or integrate anything. The responsive website was effortless, instant, and universal, which was key in driving adoption and advocacy from busy vet clinic staff.
To engage pet owners, clinics were given mobile-optimized creative assets to share via their own social media pages and email/newsletters, creating a source of authentic and advocacy.
Mobile web was the ideal channel for a number of reasons. The target audience of pet owners indexed best for mobile engagement. The omni-channel nature of mobile web was essential to scale the program across the thousands of independent clinics, each with their own point-of-sale technologies and devices.
For pet owners who discovered the program independently of their vet’s recommendation, a location finder provided map directions to the nearest participating clinic where they could redeem their coupon. From a security standpoint, mobile device IDs provided an added measure of control over coupon distribution, in addition to verified email and phone number requirements. Lastly — and most importantly — no other digital channel could provide an instant point of sale experience.
The program achieved Merck’s goals. Every day of the campaign each participating clinic sold — on average — 11 additional doses of Bravecto. An all-new end-user database allowed for reengagement and automated 12-week reminders when it was time for a new dose of Bravecto. The unsubscribe rate was only 1.8 percent. Market surveys of participating clinics showed that clinic employees and vets loved the program and that pet owners loved it, too.